Paavola steps up to become Oskaloosa mayor


by Dennis Sharkey

Although he was reluctant to assume the mayor’s post, Mike Paavola knows it made sense.

“I don’t want to but I think that’s the way we need to do it,” Paavola said just before being sworn in as the new mayor of Oskaloosa. “That will let us get moving on and fill these other seats and taking care of business.”

Paavola said on Monday that he had talked to a lot of people the last couple of weeks about taking over as mayor. Not being a man who seeks the spotlight and who values his vote on the council it made for a tough decision that he wanted a couple of weeks to think about.

Many of the people who spoke with Paavola urged him to become mayor. He said many of them know where to find him at the NAPA Auto Parts store on Walnut Street and voice their concerns to him on a regular basis.

Paavola was the council president. Oskaloosa’s city ordinance calls for the council president to fill the role of mayor when a vacancy occurs.

A vacancy occurred last month when former Mayor Mike Boyd resigned because of conflicts with work hours.

Paavola said he knew what he was getting into when he accepted the council president post and that this could be a possibility.

There are now two vacancies on the city council with Paavola’s move to mayor. The other vacancy was created with the passing away of Councilman Greg Rockhold last month.

Paavola said on Monday that he has spoken with three qualified candidates and that it is likely both seats could be filled at the next meeting on Dec. 1.

In other actions:

• The city pool project has begun. Continental Pools presented a signed contract to the city last week. The company is also looking for local workers to help with the project.

The pool will be repaired in two phases with the hopes of all plaster removal and replacement work done before spring. The pool surface will be painted and filled with water in spring 2012. The contract calls for a May 4, 2012, deadline.

• City Engineer Joe McAfee met with the council and was asked to oversee the pool rehabilitation process and to inspect work being done.

• McAfee was also asked to help develop a street maintenance program. About 12 years ago the city planned over a 10-year period to asphalt every city street. That process is complete and some streets are starting to show some wear.

He said typically other cities he has worked with go on a five-year plan and that he can work off of the city’s budget. The city usually budgets about $100,000 each year for streets.

• Paavola said that he received a phone call last Thursday about a possible offer being made on the Harvey’s Hardware building. On Monday there was still no news.

The council purchased the building in December 2009 with the intentions of converting it into City Hall. However, some concerns about finances put any renovations on hold. This spring the building became a negative sticking point for some new council members and the decision was made to put the building on the market.

The council decided at that time that six months would be given to allow for offers to be made. The deadline expires in February.

• Councilman Gary Bryant distributed a list of job descriptions for each of the city’s employees.

Bryant said he looked at an old city ordinance and consulted with the employees in the development process of the document.

The document will be used as a basis for developing an employee evaluation process.

• A new backhoe will be arriving at the City Shop soon. King’s Construction has been contracted to transport the machine.

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Posted by on Dec 1 2011. Filed under Government, Municipalities, Oskaloosa. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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